Our soul winning verse from the Word of God today is Acts 1:8 which reads: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Our soul winning quote today is from Ed Stetzer: “The earliest churches obeyed the Great Commission by planting new congregations to carry out the assignments of discipling, baptizing, and teaching that would begin the multiplication process of planting more and more churches. You notice that the process begins and ends in obedience.”
Our soul winning devotional today is part 2 of our series titled “What Evangelism Is” from Dave Earley and David Wheeler from their fine book titled “Evangelism Is…: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence”.
Evangelism is obedience to the Great Commission.
Jesus’ followers took seriously the responsibility to fulfill the Great Commission. After hearing Jesus give the commission for the last time and seeing Him ascend to heaven in the clouds, they immediately convened a weeklong prayer meeting asking God for power to fulfill the command. God answered by giving them the Holy Spirit, and they immediately began to preach the gospel and plant a church. They were repeatedly thrown in jail because they refused to stop preaching the gospel. But you probably know all of this.
Maybe you are thinking, ‘Yeah, but that’s the apostles. I’m just a regular person. God does not really expect me to evangelize, does He?’
While the first evangelists were the apostles, they certainly weren’t the only ones. A non-apostle named Stephen had a powerful ministry speaking the Word with wisdom and the Holy Spirit. He was so effective that the Jews decided the only way to shut him up was to kill him, so they did.
Notice what happened next: “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles… Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”
Notice who had been scattered by the persecution: “They were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.” Notice what they did: “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”
The gospel spread to the entire world when normal, obedient, non-apostles shared Jesus. Now notice how God blessed this ministry of the obedient Christ followers: “Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.”
The word commission is a military term meaning “an authoritative order, charge, or direction.” It is used for a document conferring authority issued by the president of the United States to officers in the army, navy, and other military services. As an authoritative order, obedience is not an option. To disobey would be considered an act of treason. The one disobeying the commission would be subject to court martial.
No one can call himself a follower of Jesus who is refusing to obey His orders. Since this order to evangelize the world was clearly and repeatedly given, it must be obeyed. Jesus’ commission to evangelize the world was not a suggestion to be considered but a command to be obeyed. Jesus’ followers did not consider this Great Commission to evangelize the world as an option to entertain but rather saw it as a mandate to fulfill whatever the cost.